A Kansas City-based developer expects to close a deal in the first quarter of 2019 on 178 acres in Apopka that will ultimately bring 2.4 million square feet of industrial space in five warehouses.
Mid Florida Logistics Park, planned along the west side of the Western Expressway (State Road 429) south of General Electric Road, is under contract and is being marketed to potential tenants. It will be built speculatively, said Wilson McDowell, managing director of Cite Partners, the Orlando-based corporate real estate adviser acting as marketing agent.
"We have a lot of interest, so hopefully we can announce some (tenants) soon," McDowell said. "It's a great project for the area. It's going to do extremely well. Apopka has been really great to work with and we're extremely excited about it."
BlueScope Properties Group of Kansas City, Mo., is the developer. It is a subsidiary of BlueScope Steel Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia. BlueScope is focused on building Class A industrial properties in markets throughout the United States and Canada.
BlueScope has applied for a mass grading permit for the site with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The first building would be constructed in two phases for a combined 654,565 square feet, according to the plans.
There are a pair of options under consideration for the remainder of Apopka site. Both feature five warehouses ranging from 160,000 to 1,025,000 square feet. The tract includes 2,425 feet of frontage along the Western Expressway and easy access to U.S. Highway 441 and upon completion, the Wekiva Parkway.
It is being pitched to distribution, light manufacturing and office users.
"The reason why BlueScope is interested in and continues to move forward is the access to 429," aid McDowell. "The 429 has been a hot corridor these days because you can get around I-4 pretty easily. Your immediate access to the 429 is really attractive to most users."
The land is under contract from three different parties, the largest of which is owned by an affiliate of Cape Canaveral-based Patrick T. Lee, co-owner of Mid-Florida Freezer Warehouses Ltd. The value has not been disclosed.
BlueScope will build offices to suit. The buildings feature 36-foot clear heights, dock-high and grade level access, cross dock and rear loading. Preliminary designs include roughly 600 trailer spaces.
Dave Schmitt Engineering is the civil engineer on the project, and St. Louis-based Arco National Construction will be the general contractor.
In its third-quarter Central Florida Industrial Market Report, Cite Partners indicated that the area is close to absorbing more square footage than is being delivered. The industrial vacancy rate stood at 4.2 percent for the quarter, the eighth straight quarter it has been below 5 percent.
"Due to a lack of available industrial zoned land sites, we believe there will be a continued downward pressure on vacancy rates," Cite Partners said. "The scarcity of available space will continue to help drive absorption in new projects that are currently under construction or getting ready to commence."
The Mid Florida Logistics Park will be BlueScope's second new industrial development in the area. The developer has fully leased its first two buildings at The Park @ 429, a Class A industrial park in Ocoee and is currently building an 85,000-square-foot City Furniture showroom.